University College Academic Integrity Procedures

The University College academic integrity procedures outlined below are based on and adhere to the University 49-20 Academic Integrity Policy and the section G-9 of the University's Academic Integrity Academic Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual. The procedures are all-encompassing of the policy and section from the manual so that parties involved do not also have to consult them. They also align with the academic integrity online website at https://ai.la.psu.edu. This website allows the initial documentation process to be online while still accommodating hearings and meetings with the student.

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner and a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University. All members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, the University’s Code of Conduct states that all students should act with personal integrity, respect other students’ dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts.

Academic integrity includes a commitment by all members of the University community not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others. The academic integrity policy should be adhered to for all credit-bearing courses including study abroad programs, and internships, and those offered by Continuing Education and Cooperative Education.

To protect the rights and maintain the trust of honest students and support appropriate behavior, instructors and administrators should regularly communicate high standards of integrity and reinforce them by taking reasonable steps to anticipate and deter acts of dishonesty in all assignments (Senate Policy 44-40: Proctoring of Examinations). At the beginning of each course, it is the responsibility of the instructor to provide students with a statement clarifying the application of University academic integrity policies to that course. Instructors are encouraged to discuss candidly with students the issue of academic integrity in the context of promoting learning to further clarify their expectations.

 

Sample Syllabi Statement on Academic Integrity

This is a suggested sample. Instructors are encouraged to tailor the examples to their courses, outline possible sanctions, and update as needed (see Sanctioning Guidelines for AI Violations and Explanations for Disciplinary Sanctions).

Consistent with the Pennsylvania State University’s core ethical aspirations of Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Discovery, Excellence and Community, we are committed to high standards of honesty in our academic efforts. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for the Penn State University community as it allows the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner. All students should act with personal integrity, respect everyone's dignity, rights, and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to, copying, plagiarism, fabrication of information or citations, facilitation of acts of academic dishonesty by others, unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, and tampering with the academic work of other students. Academic integrity includes a commitment by all members of the University community to not engage, regardless of intent, in acts of dishonesty, falsification, misrepresentation, or deception, as these acts violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others.

 

University College Academic Integrity Campus Committees

Each campus Chief Academic Officer (CAO), as the Chancellor’s designee, shall appoint a campus academic integrity committee made up of faculty, students, and academic administrators, with faculty being the majority. This committee shall

  1. Promote expectations for academic integrity consistent with the definition in policy.
  2. Ensure fairness and consistency in processes and outcomes. To ensure University-wide consistency, each campus Academic Integrity Committee will work with the Office of Student Conduct (SC) to follow these procedures for handling and sanctioning dishonesty infractions.
  3. Review and settle all contested cases in which academic sanctions are applied. If necessary, further disciplinary action will be taken by the Office of SC.
  4. Report all cases of academic dishonesty to the Office of SC.

Each campus committee will be composed with members who meet the following minimum membership requirements:

  • Three full-time faculty members.
  • One of the above three full-time faculty members will serve as chair for a minimum two-year term. It is recommended when possible that the chair be promoted above first rank.
  • The CAO or the Chancellor’s designee will serve as the Administrative Appointee, a non-voting member and provide administrative support.
  • Two students in degree status members. The administrative Appointee may want to request student recommendations from the Student Government Association at their campus.

The minimum acceptable number of voting committee members to hear a case is three. In all cases, faculty must comprise the membership majority, although not to the exclusion of student representation.  If the chair of the committee is the instructor alleging the violation, they must recuse themself, and another faculty member of the committee may be appointed as chair by the CAO, or the CAO may assign another promoted faculty to the committee to serve as the chair for that case. If the instructor alleging the violation is on the committee, they must recuse themselves. The Administrative Appointee will work with the students chosen for the committee to vet conflicts of interest.

This committee will review and settle all contested cases of alleged academic integrity violations in which academic sanctions are recommended and will be the final level of review for academic sanctions. The Administrative Appointee is responsible for ensuring that the academic integrity processes are followed. If either the student or the instructor involved in the instance of alleged academic misconduct thinks that there has been a procedural problem, then they should bring that concern to the Administrative Appointee. A review by the Chief Academic Officer will occur only when it is determined that due process was not followed or when removal from program is a sanction.

 

Process

When an academic integrity violation is suspected, the instructor will notify the student either in person, video conference, or via email of the suspected violation and offer to discuss, either in person or by video conference, the suspected violation and the sanction(s) they are considering. It is highly recommended that the instructor discusses the alleged violation with the student and follow up the discussion with an email summarizing the discussion. The instructor will consider the confidential nature of the information and the goal of maintaining an environment that supports teaching and learning. The instructor will reinforce the importance of the student continuing to attend and engage in the class as the resulting sanction(s) may be different than the proposed sanction(s).

Guidelines on choosing an appropriate sanction(s) can be found at Sanctioning Guidelines for AI Violations and Explanations for Disciplinary Sanctions. These same sanctions can be found on the above academic integrity website. Developmental sanctions should be considered so that students can learn from the process (including re-doing an assignment with decreased point potential, re-doing an assignment with same point potential, reflection statement on the allegation, academic integrity workshop/training, etc.). If the allegation is not the first allegation in the same course with the same instructor in one semester, the instructor may take this into account when considering a sanction(s).

Normally, it is preferable to pursue academic sanctions with the campus, relying on the assignment of grades and course or program-related sanctions to support the learning process, rather than requesting additional University-level disciplinary sanctions. However, where integrity violations are considered extreme, the instructor may also opt to pursue a disciplinary action in conjunction with both the campus AI Committee and the Office of SC. In situations where a disciplinary sanction(s) is requested and referred to the Office of SC, the application of academic sanctions will be carried out by the campus, while the application of disciplinary sanctions will be carried out by the Office of SC, in consultation with the campus AI Committee.

At the request of either the instructor or the student, a discussion between the instructor and the student will occur with the campus Administrative Appointee. Any discussion between the instructor and student (whether requested by the student or the instructor) should take place within 5 business days of the initial outreach to the student by the instructor.

The student will have access to the evidence and the opportunity to explain their behavior during the discussion.

  • If after discussion with the student the instructor is convinced there is no violation, the process will end.
  • If after the discussion with the student the instructor still believes that an academic integrity violation has occurred, the instructor has 5 business days from the meeting or the initial notification (whichever date is more recent) to enter the allegation online (see instructions below).
  • If the student chooses not to discuss the allegation, the instructor has 5 business days from the initial notification to submit the allegation online (see instructions below).

 

Submitting an Allegation Online

Once the instructor has discussed the allegation with the student and still believes an violation has occurred, the instructor should go to  https://ai.la.psu.edu and submit the allegation.

  1. Click on Report an “Academic Integrity Violation Electronically.”
  2. Click on “Open New Claim.”
  3. The site will remind you to have the initial conversation with the student. If you have, click on “Continue.”
  4. Use the drop-down menu to select if the allegation is course related or not.
  5. If the allegation is course related, you will be prompted for the name of the course and number, semester, and campus.
  6. After clicking “Continue,” choose the unit that the course is associated with. Normally, your home unit is the unit responsible. If you teach for multiple campuses, the unit the instructor’s home unit is the unit offering the course. If the course is shared, the campus offering the course out is the responsible unit. If you are teaching for the World Campus BSB program, your home unit is the responsible campus. If unit responsibility is unclear, please contact your Chief Academic Officer.
  7. Confirm your contact information.
  8.  Click on the box to confirm you are the instructor.
  9. Enter the student user id (zzz123).
  10. Confirm the student information is correct.
  11. Type in allegation details.
  12. To learn about various sanctions, click on any of the sanctions below and a pop-up box will appear explaining that sanction.
  13. Type in the sanction(s) you are recommending.
  14. Choose yes or no for if you are recommending a disciplinary sanction(s). If yes, enter the disciplinary sanction(s) you are recommending. For more information on disciplinary sanctions, see Section X at  https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/support-safety-conduct/student-conduct/code-conduct.
  15. Upload all supporting documents as appropriate (any evidence of the violation or supporting documents to help reviewers understand the allegation). Uploading the course syllabus may be helpful. All uploaded documents will be shared with the student.
  16. Review the page and click on “Sign and Submit.”
  17. Agree electronically that the information submitted is true, accurate and complete.

At any point, instructors can go to their “Educator Home Page” and see each open claim and what the status is.

Once the allegation has been submitted online, the student will be notified via e-mail and will have 5 working days to accept or contest the allegation and accept or contest the sanction(s), and upload any documents they feel are pertinent.

When the student responds, the instructor, student, and Administrative Appointee will be notified of their response. The instructor then has 5 working days to further respond and/or submit additional documentation if the student contests the allegation and/or sanction(s).


Holds

Once an allegation has been entered online, the registrar of the unit will be notified to place a hold in LionPATH so that the student will not be able to drop the course during the review process. Any drop or withdrawal from the course during this time will be reversed. A student who has received an academic sanction(s) because of a violation of academic integrity may not drop or withdraw from the course at any time. These drop actions include regular drop, late drop, withdrawal, retroactive late drop and retroactive withdrawal.

The hold will remain if a sanction(s) is applied and removed if a sanction(s) is not applied. The instructor should assign an NG to students charged with an integrity violation if grades are due before disputed cases are heard and resolved. A hold may be superseded in exceptional circumstances (i.e. trauma drop). In these cases, the Office of SC will confer with the Administrative Appointee if the supercedence is warranted.

In the case of a student who has dropped or withdrawn from a course before notification of an alleged academic integrity violation, the review process can still go forward, if appropriate. In such a case, the instructor should proceed with the academic integrity process and enter the allegation online.

 

Previous Sanctions

Once an allegation has been entered online, an automated notification will be sent to the unit’s Office of SC to notify the Administrative Appointee of any previous sanctions.

 

Withdraw of an Allegation

An instructor may withdraw an allegation at any time. To withdraw an allegation the instructor should reach out to the Administrative Appointee who will withdraw the claim online and notify the student and instructor that it has been withdrawn. This action will trigger an automated email notifying the registrar to remove any holds.


No Contest or Acceptance of the Allegation/Sanction(s)

A student's failure to accept or contest the allegation and sanction(s) online by the specified deadline will be construed as not contesting the allegation. The Administrative Appointee will frequently monitor open allegations to see if any students have missed their deadline. The Administrative Appointee may, through the online system, remind the student of the deadline and even extend the deadline, but they may also treat the lack of a response as no contestation.


If the student accepts responsibility for the violation and the proposed academic sanction(s) or by not contesting the allegation, the Administrative Appointee reviews any records of academic integrity violations, as provided by the Office of SC.

  • If a prior recorded violation is discovered, a new academic sanction(s) may be considered by the campus AI Committee or the Administrative Appointee in consultation with the instructor. Information concerning prior academic misconduct may not be used as a basis for judging a student's guilt, but the information may be used as a basis for imposing additional academic sanctions.
    • If the academic sanction(s) is changed, a new allegation must be submitted online, so the student has the opportunity to accept or contest the new sanction(s).
      • If the student accepts the new academic sanction(s), the case will be closed by the Administrative Appointee. See How To Close A Case instructions below. The Administrative Appointee must communicate the outcome to the instructor and notify the student that the instructor has been advised to apply the sanction(s) they accepted, and the case has been closed.
      • If the new sanction(s) is contested, the process begins again.
    • If the original sanction(s), despite prior academic integrity violations, is to remain, the case will be closed by the Administrative Appointee. (See How To Close A Case instructions below.  The Administrative Appointee must communicate the outcome to the instructor and notify the student that the instructor has been advised to apply the sanction(s) they accepted, and the case has been closed.

If there are no previous sanctions, the case will be closed by the Administrative Appointee. See How To Close A Case instructions below. The Administrative Appointee must communicate the outcome to the instructor and notify the student that the instructor has been advised to apply the sanction(s) they accepted, and the case has been closed.

If disciplinary sanction(s) are added, the Administrative Appointee will: 1) notify the instructor to implement the academic sanction(s), 2) notify the student that a. the instructor has been advised to apply the academic sanction(s), b. the disciplinary sanction(s) has been recommended, and c. decisions about disciplinary sanctions are up to the Office of Student Conduct, which will contact the student to discuss the situation. The Administrative Appointee will send the recommended disciplinary sanction(s) to the Office of SC along with the academic integrity case information and other relevant documentation. See How To Close A Case instructions below for sending those documents to the Office of SC. The Office of SC will meet with the student to review the recommended disciplinary sanction(s) and will discuss the precedent guidelines in determining the appropriate disciplinary sanction(s) to assign. As appropriate, the Office of SC will seek additional information from the Administrative Appointee and, possibly, the chair of the campus Academic Integrity Committee. Upon final disposition of the case, the Office of SC will communicate the outcome to the campus Academic Integrity Committee Chair and/or the Administrative Appointee.

 

Contest of the Allegation/Sanction(s)

If the student contests the allegation and/or sanction(s) the system prompts the instructor for a response to the contestation. The instructor then may, within 5 University working days, enter a response and/or further information. The student will then be automatically notified of the additional instructor response/documents and that they have 5 days to accept or deny the allegation and sanction(s) given the instructor response and any further information provided.

  • If the student then accepts the allegation and sanction(s), the Administrative Appointee will close the case (see instructions on how to close a case below).
  • If the student again contests the allegation and/or sanction(s), they have the choice of a paper (the committee reviews the documents) or hearing (the committee reviews the documents and meets with the student and instructor) review of their case. The Administrative Appointee will reach out to the student to share the options.
    • The student has up to 5pm of the day before the review to change their contestation and to accept the allegation and sanction[(s).
    • Prior to the review, the student will be asked by the Administrative Appointee if they feel that any member of the committee may be biased to hinder impartiality. If yes, the committee member will be excused. Merely knowing the committee member, having been in class with them, or having earned a poor grade from them is not considered, in itself, reason for excluding any committee member.
    • The review will occur as soon as practical, but not later than five weeks after the submission of the academic integrity allegation. The Administrative Appointee should be aware of timeline implications of the process so that the student can still move forward with their scheduling for the next semester.
    • The campus Academic Integrity Committee will then conduct the review.

 

Hearing Review Protocol

A student may change their request of a hearing review to a paper review any time before the hearing review is scheduled to occur.

If a student does not appear for the hearing review, the review will proceed without them as a paper review.

Students may not request a group hearing even when the allegation involves more than one student.

The Academic Integrity Committee Chair directs the hearing, ensures procedures are followed, and ensures questioning is objective, evidence is relevant, procedures and policy are enforced, time limits are reasonable, and perpetual confidentiality emphasized.

If the hearing is held remotely, it must be held via video conferencing in a secure meeting room with all cameras on, always. A secure meeting room entails that all participants must be admitted by the Chair. No recording will be allowed for anyone attending any part of the hearing. Only the student may choose to not use their camera or to call into the video conferencing hearing.

The student has a right during the hearing to the presence of an advisor. An advisor is any person selected by the student to assist and accompany them at any point throughout the academic integrity violation allegation process. The advisor, upon the student’s request, may (1) accompany the student in the hearing, (2) advise the student in their preparation on presentation of sharing information, and (3) advise the student in preparation of any further actions.  

The student, instructor, and committee members may request witnesses to provide testimony relevant to the allegation at the hearing. A witness is an individual, who has had direct involvement in an incident and/or who was provided with the information directly from an individual involved in the incident. This also includes individuals who in their professional capacity have contributed information which led to the allegation (e.g., instructor/staff member who provided professional knowledge/guidance). The Academic Integrity Committee Chair and Administrative Appointee will vet each request to determine if they will be included in the hearing based on relevancy to the allegation. Witnesses who can only speak to character or witnesses who cannot speak directly to the allegation should not be included.

During the hearing, the committee will first ask the instructor to articulate their allegation. The committee will then ask the student to explain their behaviors and any submitted evidence. The committee will then ask witnesses to share their experience relative to the case. The committee may question the instructor, student, and witnesses. The student may question witnesses and the evidence. To maximize confidentiality all witnesses will be present at the hearing only during their questioning.  At the close of the hearing, the chair of the committee will notify the student and the instructor of the date by which a decision will be made.

 

Paper Review Protocol

A student may change their request of a paper review to a hearing review any time before a decision has been made by the committee.

The Committee chair directs the paper review through a committee meeting and ensures procedures are followed, questioning is objective, evidence is relevant, procedures are enforced, time limits are reasonable and perpetual confidentiality emphasized. The Administrative Appointee may make inquiries to the instructor or student when appropriate.

If the meeting is held remotely, it must be held via video conferencing in a secure meeting room and participants being admitted by the Chair. No recording devices will be allowed for anyone attending any part of the hearing.  

 

Committee Decision Making

Following the review, the committee, through examining all evidence/testimony, decides whether, by majority vote, if it is more likely than not, based upon the totality of all relevant evidence and reasonable inferences from the evidence that the student violated academic integrity. If so, the committee agrees upon the suggested sanction(s) or adjusts it.

The decision should be made in a reasonable timeframe, but not later than two weeks after the hearing. The chair of the committee will write the final report to include the allegation, a summary of evidence and reasonable inferences from the evidence leading to the decision, and the committee's decisions, sanctions, and rationales. The report should be emailed to the Administrative Appointee to be uploaded into the online system.

If the student is found responsible for the alleged academic integrity violation by the campus AI Committee, the committee will then be informed by the Administrative Appointee if the student has prior academic integrity violations.

  • With this information, the AI Committee will determine the if the sanction(s)  needs to be adjusted. If the final sanction(s) is only an academic sanction, the AI Committee will assign the sanction (s) and the Administrative Appointee will close the case. The Administrative Appointee will notify the Office of SC for record-keeping and notify the instructor and student.
  • If the campus Academic Integrity Committee determines that disciplinary sanctions should be considered, the student is notified by the Administrative Appointee that they have been found responsible for the allegation, and that the academic sanction(s) will be put into place. They will also inform the student that in addition, the student's case will be referred to the Office of SC for consideration of a disciplinary sanction(s). The Office of SC will review the recommendation, as well as precedent guidelines in determining the appropriate disciplinary sanction(s) to assign. If the Office of SC desires to reject the campus AI Committee disciplinary recommendation, they must consult with the Administrative Appointee and, possibly, the chair of the AI Committee.

If the student is found not responsible for the allegation by the Academic Integrity Committee, the Administrative Appointee is responsible for notifying the campus registrar and student that all holds on drops or withdrawals from the course may be removed and any reversals of drops or withdrawals should be reinstated. The Administrative Appointee will also notify the instructor. The student may now drop or withdraw from the course at any time. All incident records for this incident are still shared with the Office of SC. Records are maintained by the Office of SC for evidence that the student received due process and was not found responsible (see How To Close A Case below).

 

Conduct Sanctions

When referring cases to the Office of SC, instructors have the option to also recommend a full range of disciplinary sanctions available such as: Disciplinary Warning; Disciplinary Probation; Suspension, Indefinite Expulsion or Expulsion; or the "XF" transcript notation. For more information see Section X at  https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/support-safety-conduct/student-conduct/code-conduct.

 

Student Requested Sanction Reviews

Through the student conduct process, students are able to request a sanction(s) review for the disciplinary sanction(s) assigned, but not for the academic sanction(s) assigned. Once the student is found responsible in the process, the academic sanction(s) recommended by the instructor and/or the campus Academic Integrity Committee will be put into place. The only exception occurs when the academic sanction(s) assigned by the instructor or the Academic Integrity Committee is a dismissal from the academic program. On those occasions, students may request a sanction(s) review from the Administrative Appointee.

 

Honors and Schreyer Honors College Students and Courses

  • For honors courses and honors options, the campus delivering the course maintains responsibility for reviewing and issuing academic sanctions and/or referring conduct cases to the Office of SC.
  • When a campus or college finds a Schreyer Scholar has committed academic misconduct or has not contested an allegation of academic misconduct, the Schreyer Honors College (SHC) is notified by the Administrative Appointee and the SHC will conduct an internal review that may lead to dismissal from the the SHC. The SHC maintains authority over alleged breaches of academic integrity for its students in all cases in which the violation concerns SHC work, such as thesis research, but in which the student is not enrolled in a course.

 

Non-Credit Courses

Non-credit courses such as Tech Academy, Continuing Education courses or English/Math Academy for PaSSS are also subject to academic integrity policies and procedures. The same protocol should be followed.

 

Record Keeping

When the campus finds a student has committed an academic integrity violation or the student has not contested the allegation, it is the responsibility of the Administrative Appointee to report the results and documentation of the case to the Office of SC. The specific information reported to the office of SC should include all supporting documents that were established or used while managing the case.

The Office of SC alone is responsible for the central record keeping and disclosing of student disciplinary records at the University, including academic integrity violations. Regarding disclosure to external third parties, Student Conduct may disclose student disciplinary records of academic dishonesty when those records include University-level disciplinary sanctions assigned by the Office of SC and will do so in accordance with federal law (FERPA) and the University policy on managing Student Discipline Records. Nothing in this procedure precludes the Office of SC from sharing a student's disciplinary records with the Office of Research Protections if relevant to an investigation pursuant to University Policy RP02.

How to Close a Case

Sharing Information from the Online Academic integrity System with OSC via the Maxient System

  1. Open the claim.
  2. Click “Download As Zip.” Go through the unzip process (varies with software) and, if needed, unzip/extract the files into a temporary folder on your desktop. Note that one of the files is a “Coversheet” document.
  3.  Open the Incident Reporting Form (https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?PennState&layout_id=0). Note that you must complete a separate form for each student.
  4.  Complete the Background Information portion of the form.
    1. Enter your name. Enter your email address (do not use a shared email address).  
    2. If you want, enter your position/title, phone number, or campus/local address.
    3. For “Nature of this report,” select “General Conduct Report.”
    4. For “Date of incident,” enter the (approximate) date provided by the educator on the academic integrity form.
    5. Unless you know the time of the incident, leave this field blank.  
    6. For “Location of incident” (campus), scroll to your unit’s section and select the “Academic Integrity” option.  
    7. Leave the specific location of the incident field blank.   
  5. Complete the Involved Parties portion of the form.
    1. Enter the name of the student on the academic integrity form in the “Name or Organization” field.
    2. You do not need to enter information about the student’s gender, date of birth (DOB), phone number, or hall/address.
    3. In the “Select Role” field, identify the student as “Accused/Respondent.”
    4. Enter the student’s 9-digit PSU ID number in the “Student ID Number” field. Do not include spaces or dashes. You can find this information in LionPath. It is also included in the claim notification message from the online academic integrity system to the administrator.  
    5. In the “Email address” field, enter the student’s Penn State email address.
    6. Do NOT add another party. Submit a single Incident Report Form for each individual student.
  6. Complete the Incident Description portion of the form. Include the following information:
    1. Student name, email address, and PSU ID
    2. Instructor name
    3. Course name, number, and semester
    4. Allegation/brief description of incident
    5. Best guess at date of incident
  7. Complete the Supporting Documentation portion of the form.  
    1. Click on “Choose files to upload” or “Choose files” (either is fine).
    2. Find and select the unzipped case files.
    3. Check that you have attached all relevant files.  
    4. Click on the “Email me a copy of this report” box to receive an email copy (recommended).
    5. Office of Information Security and The Office of SC would like you to delete files from your personal/office computer when you are done uploading files.
  8. Click the “Submit report” button to submit the report.  

 

Printable PDF version of the AI Form

For users that need to submit the academic integrity form on paper, a PDF is available to download, complete. and print.